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New NDT techniques for the assessment of
fire-damaged concrete structures
ARTICLE in FIRE SAFETY JOURNAL · SEPTEMBER 2007
Impact Factor: 0.96 · DOI: 10.1016/j.firesaf.2006.09.002

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Matteo Colombo

Roberto Felicetti

Politecnico di Milano

Politecnico di Milano

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This phenomenon usually takes place at relatively low temperaCorresponding author. Keywords: Assessment. Residual properties. This irreversible decay can significantly depend on the mix design. the pros and cons of the proposed techniques are pointed out. which guarantee a slow propagation of thermal transients within the structural members. Roberto Felicetti Department of Structural Engineering (DIS). the silicate hydrates decompose above 300 1C and the portlandite will be dehydrated above 500 1C.felicetti@polimi. 0379-7112/$ . Introduction Concrete is known to exhibit a good behaviour at high temperature. The outcome of heating is a series of chemo-physical transformations occurring in concrete at increasing temperature [2]: the physically combined water is released above 100 1C. Ultrasonic testing. Tel.see front matter r 2007 Elsevier Ltd.com/locate/firesaf New NDT techniques for the assessment of fire-damaged concrete structures Matteo Colombo. after the investigations conducted on two full-scale structures: a precast R/C industrial building surviving a real fire and a concrete tunnel submitted to a series of hydrocarbon-pool fire tests. The mechanical response of the material is weakened concurrently and the compressive strength is expected to be reduced.2006. which has the effect of exposing deeper layers of concrete to the maximum fire temperature. One important exception is the occurrence of explosive spalling.firesaf. The actual in situ viability of each method is then discussed. Italy Received 24 July 2006. Politecnico di Milano.elsevier.e. As a result. the sudden expulsion of concrete chips prompted by the vapour pressure build-up. decomposition of limestone). thereby increasing the rate of transmission of the heat.: +39 02 2399 4388. fax: +39 02 2399 4220. E-mail address: roberto.it (R. Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32. concrete structures frequently survive a fire with no major member collapse and the problem of assessing their residual . an affordable approach to concrete colorimetry and the real-time monitoring of the drilling resistance. In this paper. Fracture properties. i.1016/j. Felicetti). the remaining material might have not undergone a significantly high temperature (as in the case of the Channel Tunnel fire). Damage. as revealed by laboratory tests.09. Then. Nevertheless. three new investigation techniques have been proposed. Colorimetry. some aggregates begin to convert or to decompose at higher temperatures (a–b SiO2 conversion. 20133 Milano. the heating and cooling conditions and the structural effects of thermal gradients (self-stress and cracking). Only in the cases of quite long fire duration and relatively thin cross-sections. doi:10. slightly up to 400 1C and then more noticeably. thanks to its incombustible nature and low thermal diffusivity. very strong thermal gradients take place in the reinforcement cover during a fire and the material thermal damage rapidly decreases from a maximum to nil within a few centimetres depth. Concrete. Non-destructive testing (NDT). Tunnels 1. r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. which allow to assess the whole thermal damage profile in one single test: a simplified interpretation technique for the indirect Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV) method (based on the refraction of longitudinal waves).002 ture (o400 1C) and. no fixed relationship can be found between the maximum experienced temperature and the residual concrete strength. All rights reserved. underneath the visible erosion of the member surface. As a consequence. accepted 10 September 2006 Available online 21 June 2007 Abstract An extensive research programme has been performed at Politecnico di Milano in order to identify quick and easy methods for the assessment of the thermal damage undergone by reinforced concrete structures in consequence of a fire.ARTICLE IN PRESS Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 www. the exposure to high temperature is expected to sizeably impair the bearing capacity of the structural members [1].

with a significant loss at temperatures higher than 400 1C in accordance with Eurocode 2 for siliceous concrete (EN 1992 Part 1. they have been tested in compression. a point-by-point analysis of small samples taken at different depths [6–8] or some special techniques for the interpretation of the overall response of the concrete member [8–10]. expanded clay coarse aggregate+siliceous sand). etc.2 1C/ min). To overcome these limitations. 2. that is a function of both the heating rate and the period of exposure to the hot environment. recovery and retrofitting). max aggregate size ¼ 16 mm. cooling rate ¼ 0. . Colombo. after the investigations conducted on two RC structures surviving a real fire. siliceous aggregate) and a structural lightweight concrete (LWC. The main features of the proposed test methods and the outline of the experimental programme performed for their calibration and verification are illustrated in the following. revealing very similar strength decays (Fig. as the chemo-physical transformations are almost totally irreversible while less affected by the cooling process. the rebound hammer) or accurate but time consuming (e.2–2004: General rules—Structural fire design. from the material characterisation under homogeneous damage conditions to the strong gradients ensuing from real fires. by governing the thermal stress. in order to ascertain their intrinsic sensitivity to the thermally induced strength loss (Fig. even being based on inexpensive devices and not requiring demanding laboratory analyses. This extensive series of transformations provides the basis for the non-destructive material assessment. Nonetheless. 1).g. a more marked decrease of the Young’s modulus is usually observed. The samples have been moist-cured for 1 month. an European Research Project focused on the innovative upgrading methods for fire safety in existing tunnels (Technical Task 4. Concerning the other mechanical parameters.5]. Uniformly damaged concrete cubes for calibration tests A series of concrete cubes (side ¼ 150 mm. However. three new investigation techniques have been proposed which allow the assessment of the whole thermal damage profile in one single test. whereas the tensile strength exhibits the most temperature-sensitive behaviour [3]. the majority of these methods are usually not very practical for in situ applications. their in situ practicability is discussed. 1). To this latter goal.3—Innovative damage assessment. kept in the laboratory environment for 2 months and then submitted to a slow thermal cycle up to Tmax ¼ 200.1.ARTICLE IN PRESS M. Laboratory benchmarks for fire damage assessment The main aspect to be considered in any experimental investigation on the response of thermally damaged concrete is the temperature field reached during the heating phase. concentration of microcracks. The possible approaches to this problem (Table 1) involve either the inspection of the average response of the concrete cover [4. colour. 2. f Tc =f 20 c ¼ relative ‘‘hot’’ strength of cylinders). repair. the heating and cooling rates also play a significant role. To ascertain the effectiveness of the proposed techniques in the whole range. The twofold objective was to check the viability of some well-established NDT techniques and to propose quick and easy methods for the assessment of fire-damaged concrete Table 1 Possible approaches to the ND assessment of fire-damaged concrete structures Average response of the concrete cover  Hammer tapping  Schmidt rebound     hammer Windsor probe Capo test BRE internal fracture Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV) Point-by-point response of small samples  Small-scale          mechanical testing Differential thermal analysis (DTA) Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) Dilatometry (TMA) Thermoluminescence Porosimetry Micro-crack density analysis Colorimetry Petrographic analysis Chemical analysis Special interpretation techniques  UPV indirect method  Impact echo  Sonic tomography  Modal analysis of   surface waves (MASW) Groundpenetrating radar Electric resistivity structures [11]. the pore pressure and the possible formation of cracks. 400. Finally. a set of three testing conditions has been considered in the preliminary part of this research programme. R. Then. such as density. being either fast but sketchy (e. 2-h spell at Tmax. the pointby-point analyses). The same cubes have been used to calibrate the response of a series of different NDT methods. electrical conductivity. although the traditional testing techniques are generally not suitable for the inspection of such a highly heterogeneous layered and fractured material. average cubic strength Rcmffi50 N/ mm2) has been prepared by using two different concrete mixes: an ordinary concrete (NC. Other physical properties are more or less affected by the exposure to high temperature. UPV) showed a remarkable dispersion.g. an extensive research programme has been performed at Politecnico di Milano in the framework of UPTUN.5 1C/min. The maximum temperature undergone by the material at each point is usually of prime interest. porosity (total volume and average size of pores). 600 and 800 1C (heating rate ¼ 0. The results concerning some well-established techniques (Schmidt’s rebound hammer and Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity. Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 462 capacity becomes of prime interest for designing possible strengthening and repair interventions.

Concrete panels under a constant temperature gradient The two concretes adopted for calibration tests were used also to prepare as many small panels (275  550  80 mm) which have been exposed to a marked thermal gradient (45 1C/mm) by heating them on the one side (Tfurnace ¼ 750 1C) while keeping the opposite side cool with a fan (Fig. after closing the specimen in a low-grade reinforced concrete box (average cubic strength Rcmffi30 N/mm2).ARTICLE IN PRESS RcT/R20 c (%) 100 80 60 40 20 0 463 100 60 100 mm cubes Short et Al [7] 40 800°C 20 NC 150 mm cubes 0 80 UPV decay (%) Rebound index decay (%) M. bringing to light the need for standardised calibration procedures. allowing the envelope profile of the maximum temperature experienced by this concrete member to be plotted. 1. From the temperature at each point and after the plots of the cubic strength decay (see Fig. 3). 2. 3). In view of the following studies. Colombo. 1) the profiles of the relative residual strength RTc =R20 c have been also worked out. It has to be remarked that in the case of a strong thermal transient. the temperature of the most exposed portion (lines A–C) has then been monitored on both faces and at half thickness and the experimental temperature field has been modelled and fitted numerically. A first evidence of this aspect is provided by the plot of the average rebound index at different heights on the back wall (Fig. Even not being the object of the fire test. Fig. ensuing maximum temperature and residual strength profiles through the panels thickness. Residual strength decay of the uniformly damaged concrete cubes and concurrent relative decay of the Schmidt’s rebound index and of the Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity. material porosity and initial moisture content). 2). experimental procedure. This evidence is probably ascribable to a number of differences in the operational parameters (specimens’ size. The test was run in a vertical furnace.12].2-m thick concrete wall on the back of the duct was partly exposed to the burners and partly protected by the tested specimen itself.3. 2. Concrete wall submitted to an ISO 834 standard fire A more realistic benchmark for the effects of thermal gradients has been provided by a standard fire test on a concrete duct for electric cabling protection in railway tunnels (ISO 834 fire curve. As a consequence. the 0. Concrete panel positioned as a replacement for the furnace door and exposed to a thermal gradient. These specimens are intended as a first. Then. 2. R. 800 100% Tmax temperature (°C) e ce ac t fa ld f o h co depth LWC 80% 600 ordinary concrete 60% 400 40% LWC RTc/R20 c 200 20% 0 0% 0 20 40 60 depth (mm) Fig. in order to better illustrate the expected mechanical response through the specimen thickness.2. the maximum temperature profile within the panels has been determined by means of three embedded thermocouples. including the cooling phase. well-controlled benchmark for checking the reliability of the proposed test methods in the assessment of the damage gradient within a concrete member. which is the rule in . Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 NC 100x500 mm beams Short et Al [7] 60 Handoo [12] 100 mm cubes 40 800°C 150mm cubes 800°C LWC 20 LWC 20°C 20°C 0 200 400 600 Temperature (°C) 800 -20 0 20 40 60 0 80 Cubic strength decay (%) 20 40 60 80 Cubic strength decay (%) Fig. this wall is an interesting example of the possible nonuniform damage pattern resulting from a severe fire. compared to like results available in the literature [7. 90 min duration.

1). As a consequence.10]. This is due to the heat stored in the external hot layer. which is conducted towards the colder part of the member regardless of the stage of the fire load. Then. which is based on the refraction of longitudinal ultrasonic waves [13]. Simplified interpretation of the indirect UPV test results As is generally recognised. As in the previous case. Fire test set-up including the concrete duct to be tested and the back wall which has been the object of ND testing. based on the standard decay curve of the cylindrical strength f Tc =f 20 c for siliceous concrete (EC2 plot in Fig. 3. which is normally equal to the velocity V20 1C in the pristine material (for thick members and relatively short fire duration). After multiplying the ordinate by the asymptotic . One important property of this experimental diagram is that the reciprocal of the final slope corresponds to the asymptotic velocity Vasym of the deep concrete layers. 3 (lines B and C) and assessment of the damage thickness (ffi100 mm) via the intercept of the final asymptote (ffi360 mm). Minimum travel-time path and shape parameters of the X–T curve. real fires. detecting the residual velocity profile within a member submitted to strong temperature gradients is quite a difficult task. the main objective of the present research programme is to identify quick and easy methods which could allow the whole thermal damage profile to be assessed. due to the drying of pores and to the pronounced temperature sensitivity of the Young’s modulus (Fig. rebound hammer response of the wall after testing and maximum temperature envelope in the exposed part of the wall. Under the assumption that the pulse velocity rises at increasing depth (which is the rule after a fire). New non-destructive investigation techniques As already stated. the path of sound waves corresponding to the minimum travel time is the best compromise between reducing the covered distance via a shallow path and exploiting the faster deep layers. In this method. 3. 4).ARTICLE IN PRESS M. the maximum depth of the material involved in this pulse propagation is a function of the distance X between the probes. T 1 intercept (mm) 1200 X z 800 DAMAGED CONCRETE B C 150 1 intercept 1 receiver A 200 effect of cracks V20°C=3350m/s A source thickness of the damaged layer (mm) UPV < 80% UPV20 T·V20°C D C B 250 1600 Vasym V(z) 100 400 50 0 0 D Vasym 0 100 200 300 400 500 intercept (mm) 0 500 1000 X (mm) Fig. 3. 4. The outcome is a plot on the X–T axes whose interpretation has been the object of different numerical methods proposed in the literature [9. experimental X–TV20 1C curves obtained from the concrete wall of Fig. The outcome consists of three proposals. which are herein briefly illustrated. 1). Colombo. Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 Rebound index 1000 temperature (°C) A B C D E 0 10 20 100% fcT/f20 c T 800 80% lines A-C 600 60% cooling 464 400 200 maximum temperature envelope 40% 20% at the burners turning off 0 30 0% 0 20 40 60 80 100 depth (mm) Fig. Useful information on the damage depth and severity can be provided via the indirect UPV technique. the temperature of the inner material of a structural member keeps rising during the early part of the cooling phase.1. However. the profiles of the expected strength have been also worked out. a series of repeated measurements of the pulse arrival time T at increasing distance X allows deeper and deeper material layers to be investigated. the measurement of the pulse arrival time is performed by applying both the emitting and the receiving probes on the same face of the investigated element (Fig. the velocity of sound in concrete is strongly affected by the thermal damage. R.

Fig. 4). Once a constant drill bit performance is guaranteed via the hammering action. Moreover. Colombo. The results highlight the good sensitivity of the method. the considerable amount of data available in a 465 single digital image (many thousands of pixels) allows to separately analyse the cement mortar and the aggregate and to outline some statistical trends ascribable to the inherent heterogeneity of the material. Some examples of this kind of approach are available in the literature. Concerning the application to fire-damaged concrete structures.2. because it is a measure of the time delay accumulated in the slow shallow layers and it is strongly related to the thickness of the sizeably damaged concrete (a 20% velocity decay threshold has been adopted in this study.e. which could more or less noticeably delay the pulse arrival time and undo the convexity of the experimental curve.g. based on the analysis of a photograph of a section through the concrete.2. the X Y Z colour space established by the Commission Internationale de l’E´clairage and the standard Red–Green–Blue system—sRGB—of most digital imaging devices). A series of numerical simulations of different thermal transients involving a broad range of concrete mixes revealed little influence on this relationship of either the heating conditions or the inherent material sensitivity to high temperature [11]. The strength of this colour change depends on the aggregate type and it is more pronounced for siliceous aggregates and less so for calcareous and igneous aggregates. R. generally from normal to pink or red (300–600 1C). although only the proportion among the coordinates can be considered [i. Concerning the assessment of damage gradients. the sensitivity to the exerted thrust is largely masked by the hammering action and the specific dissipated work (the ‘‘drilling resistance’’) appears to be the most promising indicator of the material soundness.ARTICLE IN PRESS M. a simplified approach to colorimetry has been formulated. but they seem still adequate for the purpose of the structural assessment after a fire. Other correlation curves are available for detecting the depth of different damage thresholds and for assessing the maximum material decay on the surface of the member. Nonetheless. precluding the systematic analysis of thin structural elements. the thickness to be inspected usually extends to several centimetres and a hammer drill is generally recommended to prevent excessive bit wear and overheating.14] is of great interest because its appearance usually coincides with the onset of a significant loss of concrete strength as a result of heating. whitish grey (600–900 1C) and buff (900–1000 1C). 3. the final slope is normalised to a unit value and the shape of the plot is controlled only by the profile of the relative velocity V(z)/Vasym. the chromaticity coordinates x ¼ X =ðX þ Y þ ZÞ and y ¼ Y =ðX þ Y þ ZÞ] being the colour lightness of minor interest in this case. Digital camera colorimetry The colour of concrete is expected to change at increasing temperature. which allows a relatively small mechanical decay to be detected (see the profiles of the maximum temperature and expected residual strength in Fig. the onset of chromatic alteration corresponds to a 470 1C maximum temperature and a 35% decay of the residual strength. 3). In this case. 3. mainly based on the measurement of either the thrust to be exerted to drill the material at a constant feed rate [16] or the work dissipated to drill a unit deep hole (J/ mm) [17]. The colour variation profiles clearly reveal up to which depth the material has been significantly affected by high temperature. These thresholds are slightly higher compared to the UPV technique. The only limitation of this method is that a core has to be cut from the member. which dehydrate or oxidise in the indicated temperature range [14]. the most interesting feature of this technique is that the deep virgin material is . especially in the presence of cracks. The starting point of this method is that digital pictures are usually not very accurate from the colorimetric point of view. Then. Detecting this first colour alteration [8. In this research programme. this technique requires a flat surface and is therefore not appropriate for shotcrete or if spalling has occurred. The reliability and viability of this procedure have been tested by analysing the concrete wall exposed to a 90 min ISO 834 fire (Fig. the intercept of the final asymptote at X ¼ 0 is of particular interest. Three simultaneously varying parameters are then involved in the analysis of concrete at increasing temperature.3. it has to be noted that the recording of each X–T plot is generally a demanding task. One remarkable difficulty dealing with the numeric representation of colours is that they are usually expressed in a 3-D space. 5) and a well-suited scalar measure of the colour variation for the problem at issue to be defined (namely the difference xy). The preliminary examination of the cores taken from the uniformly heated concrete cubes allow the main features of the colour variation in the CIE 1931 xy chromaticity diagram to be recognised (Fig. four concrete cores have been taken from each of the concrete panels described in Section 2. Drilling resistance The measurement of the drilling resistance appears to be a promising and fast technique to continuously ‘‘scan’’ any strongly layered materials at increasing depth. but they still allow slight colour variations to be recognised among different points on the same sample. Moreover. For both the concretes herein investigated. Among the geometric features of this normalised plot. Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 velocity (T-TVasym). no preliminary information on the member under investigation is needed for the application of this method. according to the three different stimuli perceived by as many types of receptors in the human retina (e. 4). The pink–red discolouration ensues from the possible presence of iron compounds in the fine or coarse aggregate. taken with a commonly available low-cost digital camera [15].

7). 2). a reference drilling resistance is available for each test and no special calibration curves should be needed for the evaluation of the thickness of damaged concrete. However. Although the actual thermal load experienced by each member is unknown. with no need for specific correlations with the residual strength.ARTICLE IN PRESS M. Fig. Colombo. Hence. the well-known rebound hammer technique [13] is confirmed to be of value for a first. 6). which allows the test results to be displayed in real time. the average diagrams pertaining to different areas clearly indicates which part of the structure went through a severe thermal exposure (lines A–C) and which one was only marginally impaired during the fire test (lines D and E). owing to the random nature of this disturbance. As regards the assessment of thermal gradients. Real fire in a precast RC structure The first occasion to check the viability of the cited NDT techniques for a real fire has been provided by the thorough analysis of an industrial building which survived a 4-h fire.33 x-CIE 1931 0 20 40 60 80 depth (mm) Fig. The sensitivity of this method to the thermal damage has been preliminarily ascertained by testing the uniformly damaged concrete cubes. this parameter provides just an estimate of the surface hardness. Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 0. colour variation profiles within one small panel submitted to a constant thermal gradient (see Fig.45 m. but no information on the damage depth. Similar conclusions have been drawn by means of the indirect UPV method. the drilling resistance has been measured by modifying a common battery hammer drill (Hilti TE 6-A fitted with 10 mm bits) in order to monitor the electrical power consumption. the electrical signals are acquired by a laptop computer and processed by a dedicated software. time required for implementation.008 full image masked aggregate std dev ellipse (masked aggr. 4. However. 5. In the case of the concrete wall submitted to an ISO 834 fire.000 200 -0. Among them. After proper transformation and analog filtering. the drilling resistance profile has been evaluated on the two most severely exposed sides of the column. by performing three repeated tests on each face. albeit the result is partially masked by the inherent material heterogeneity ascribable to the aggregate. and in situ practicability (Table 2).35 0. The original grade of this concrete is typical of precast RC structures (Rcmffi55 N/mm2). Due to the counteracting effect of the increasing material deformability and nearly constant fracture energy (which initially foster more dissipative penetration mechanisms). only significant thermal damage can be detected via the drilling resistance technique  (TX400–550 1C. Digital image of a uniformly heated concrete core and effect of high temperature on the chromaticity of ordinary concrete. this case allowed a number of investigation techniques to be compared in terms of sensitivity to the thermal damage. In the case of a severely damaged column (0. Hence. inspected in the final stage of the drilling process. the simple inspection of the rebound index itself allowed the most impaired parts of the member to be identified. which may lead to an over-estimation of the damage depth (the first branch of the X–T curve in Fig. [18]).34 800°C 1 600 1 400 D65 20 0. which makes the ultrasonic . It is worth noting that only about 5 min were needed in this latter case to perform the whole series of tests and the results were immediately available for interpretation thereafter. RTc p0:520:7Rc20 C ). it can be easily smoothed out by averaging the results of a few repeated tests.32 0.004 breakpoint 0. The results clearly show that different damage depths actually correspond to the same surface hardness.002 0. the bit rotation and the hole depth (Fig.31 0. This is a common structural effect of strong thermal gradients.45  0. However. though at the price of a more demanding test procedure and under the possible influence of cracks within the concrete cover. 7 is not convex and the intercept value appears too large). similar damage levels are considered in the popular ‘‘Reduced cross-section method’’ for the design of concrete structures under thermal loads and for the evaluation of the residual capacity after a fire (temperature threshold ¼ 500 1C). In this research programme. These are definitely the main benefits of this kind of NDT technique.33 ordinary concrete flash illuminant auto white balance colour variation (x-y) 466 ordinary concrete (masked aggregate) 0. R. 6.006 average 0. quick monitoring of the severity of the effect of fire on each structural element.) y-CIE 1931 Mont Blanc tunnel [8] 0. the drilling tests clearly reveal their effect on the mechanical response of a member (Fig.002 0.

Table 2 Summary of the techniques utilised for the assessment of the precast RC structure Structural element Parameter Method Main beams of the roof Residual deflection First mode frequency (torsional) Shrinkage cracks opening Rebound index Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity Drilling resistance Laser theodolite Accelerometer No colorimetric analyses have been performed in this case. Both the environment temperature (28 points) and the concrete lining temperature (92 points at 5. 5. 2) 0 0% 0 20 40 60 depth (mm) 0 20 40 60 depth (mm) Fig. The battery hammer drill fitted with the electronic circuits and the displacement transducer. the Brennero Motorway management decided to run a series of real-scale tests on different active and passive fire protection systems and to compare the performance of six different shotcrete mixes for lining repair (shotcretes A to F. The available data on .6 J/mm) 20 10 small panels heated on one face 20% DR (J/mm) DRT /DR20 100% A B C D E ISO 834 fire on a concrete wall (see Fig. 3) (see Fig. The fire load was provided by diesel oil in a series of stainless steel trays arranged next to the side wall of the tunnel (three tests—10 to 30 MW pool fires). [19]).ARTICLE IN PRESS M. in order to prevent the further damage of cutting the cores from the slender precast members. Table 4). Hydrocarbon fire tests in a motorway tunnel Thin webbed roof elements Residual deflection Rebound index Columns Rebound index Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity Drilling resistance Microscope Schmidt’s hammer Indirect UPV Modified drill Digital image analysis Schmidt’s hammer Schmidt’s hammer Indirect UPV Modified drill inspection difficult to perform but has no practical consequences on the implementation and the results of the drilling test. 25 and 50 mm depth) were accurately monitored during the tests. Italy—Fig. where a series of protective lining materials laid on concrete supports have been exposed to a very severe fire (panels 1–4. 8). Table 3. Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 467 decay onset 550°C 100% DRT/ DR20 400°C ordinary lightweight 50% Drilling Resistance Drilling Time 0% 0 200 400 600 800 T (°C) ordinary concrete 30 80% breakpoint LWC 60% 40% reference (25. Taking advantage of the lining renovation works in progress in the north channel of the Virgolo tunnel (Bolzano. sensitivity to high temperature of the drilling parameters and average profiles of the drilling resistance through the concrete panels submitted to strong thermal gradients. 6. The second verification case considered in this programme is connected again to the tasks of the UPTUN Project (Workpackage 6—Fire effects and tunnel performance: system response). R. A further small-scale test has been also conducted in a concrete box (the ‘‘mini-tunnel’’). Colombo.

Moreover.0 m panels) Panel no.ARTICLE IN PRESS M.6 1. relatively inaccessible test points. involving the problems associated with a number of operational difficulties (roughly finished shotcrete surfaces.6 2.0 7. Due to the surface roughness. ranging from lightweight insulating mixes (C. Regarding the results of the main tunnel test. R. View of the precast RC structure after the fire.9 35.5 22.D. a stringent verification of the in situ viability of different NDT techniques has been possible. Table 3 Material properties of the six shotcrete mixes for tunnel lining renewal (fc: cyl. it can be observed that the gas temperature in the upper part of the tunnel section reached the value of 250–300 1C for about 15 min.5 35 19 20 31 33 13 3.6 2. strength. it was not feasible to perform the UPV tests and the rebound index itself has been measured only after smoothing some spots on the lining. A B C D E F 34.8 49.3 1.0 13. Thickness (mm) Base panel thickness (mm) UPV (m/s) 1 2 3 4 45 50 40 40 50 100 50 50 2840 4530 1580 1620 the mechanical properties and the results of some preliminary non-destructive tests highlight the wide assortment of the materials at issue.0 1.8 3. using only a ladder for access.5 85. ftcb: bending strength.0 3. the drilling resistance tests were easy and fast to perform and about 40 holes were drilled in less than 10 min at a height of 3 m.4 28.3 6.7 4.1 18. depending on the distance from the oil trays and on the ventilation conditions (Fig. Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 468 39 19 49 15 42 16 reference (33 J/mm) 30 1 2 20 10 damaged layer 0 0 5 40 1600 reference T·Vasym (mm) 3 40 (33 J/mm) 30 6 4 20 damaged layer 10 60 intercept 1200 800 Vasym = 4135 m/s (V20°C= 4100÷4300 m/s) 400 0 0 20 40 depth (mm) 24 2000 50 average drilling resistance (J/mm) drilling resistance (J/mm) 50 45 0 20 40 depth (mm) 60 0 200 400 X (mm) 600 800 Fig. Colombo. leading to a temperature in the range 50–200 1C at a depth of 5 mm in the shotcrete samples.5 37. detail of a significantly damaged column and rebound index around its cross-section. the presence of other research teams and the short time available to carry out the tests). almost constant reference value (Fig. Ec: Young’s modulus) Id fc (MPa) fctb (MPa) Ec (GPa) Rebound index S. Besides the intriguing figures of this experimental programme. On the other hand. the time limitations and the difficulty in accessing the vault prevented the recovery of any core samples from the lining. 3 and 4) to a high performance micro-concrete (D and 2).83 Table 4 Geometry and initial Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity of the lining materials tested in the mini-tunnel (1. 7. The average drilling resistance profiles pertaining to the six shotcrete samples can be summarised in terms of a few damage parameters (the damage depth and the minimum drilling resistance at the surface).1 3. 9). compr.7 5. F.0  1.7 4. and thus the analysis of the colour alterations in the concrete. 10). by simply normalising the whole profile on the final. results of the drilling resistance and indirect UPV tests (final asymptote intercept ffi900 mm). .7 0.

Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 469 Fig.0m) 10 DR at the surface tunnel lining A C D A E 10 B damage depth 0 10 20 30 40 depth (mm) 50 30 lining type tunnel lining reference (h=3. Gas and concrete temperature during the 30-MW fire test in the Virgolo tunnel [19].0m) at the surface A B D E 20 C 55% F 10 31% 53% 21% 0 0 0 F drilling resistance (J/mm) tunnel lining (h=3.0m) before fire (h=1. The north channel of the Virgolo tunnel covered with six different lining systems and the ‘‘mini-tunnel’’ containing four concrete panels during the hydrocarbon-pool fire test.5 m 0 0 5 10 15 20 time (min) Fig. temperature (°C) gas temperature .0 +2.5 -5.2m) damage depth (mm) drilling resistance (J/mm) 40 24% 37% lining type Fig. .5mm depth 200 x = +5. Drilling resistance profile in the first shotcrete sample and histograms of the damage depth and maximum damage at the surface for the six samples.5 100 position 1 -2. 8.0 50 -7. 9.section x = 0.ARTICLE IN PRESS M. R.0m fire 300 2 3 1 200 end of fire 4 100 water shield 0 0 5 water water + shield mist 10 15 20 time (min) temperature (°C) concrete temperature . 10.3m height . Colombo.0m 150 0. 40 20 30 reference 20 DR ref after fire (h=3.

and it can be probably explained as the outcome of the selfstress ensuing from the strong thermal gradients. the discolouration onset is determined at about 5 mm depth. In the case of sample #2. the drilling resistance method confirmed its good reliability and viability. 4). This result is consistent with the visual observation of the vault after the fire. The colour variation profiles have been assessed as well. although the short fire duration considerably smoothed the effects at depths exceeding 10 mm (Fig.005 0. 12. 13). probably because of the strong thermal gradients induced by the severe fire in this stiff and brittle concrete. The results show once more that the material deterioration goes slightly beyond what might have been expected from the temperature plots. Temperature of gas and concrete (25–50 mm depth) in the mini-tunnel fire test [19]. 11). allowing to detect the damage depth.ARTICLE IN PRESS M. . However. much better operational conditions have been managed in this case and the smooth face of the tested panels allowed the indirect UPV tests to be performed. which can halve the maximum temperature reached by concrete in the case of insulating lightweight mixes (panel #1). R. 11. Finally. taking advantage of the holes remaining after cutting some small diameter cores. Colombo. corresponding to a 35-mm depth of the 20% decay threshold (see Fig. Indirect UPV X–T curves measured on the mini-tunnel panel #2 and assessment of the colour variation profile on the face of a micro-core hole via the digital image analysis. 12). the effect of fire exposure can be clearly detected. More severe heating conditions have been recorded in the mini-tunnel test. after considering the sensitivity of the drillling test method. highlighting the extensive delamination and buckling of sample B and the microcracking of sample D.005 0 colour variation (x-y) Fig. It has to be noted that the inception of this colour alteration was hardly noticeable with the naked eye. Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 possible effect of drying) and a 150-mm intercept (Fig. The results also draw attention to the strong effect of thermal diffusivity. Just in the case of the high-performance concrete (panel #2). the presence of a stiff base panel and the possible effect of the lining delamination took the lion’s share in determining the final asymptote of X–T curve. especially for soft insulating materials. Concerning the assessment of the damaged materials. the maximum damage at the surface and the interface between the protective lining material and the harder concrete support (Fig. It has to be noted that significant damage was detected in the first 10–15 mm via the drilling technique. which seems to be in good agreement with the temperature recorded during the test and in consideration of the sensitivity of the method. This result shows again that the mechanical weakening seems to exceed the simple chemophysical effects of heating. 5 10 Mini-tunnel panel #2 panel #2 0 0 200 400 probes distance X (mm) 15 -0. despite the relatively low temperatures recorded within the lining. with a 15% decay of the asymptotic velocity (as a concrete temperature gas temperature 2/25 100 1000 mini-tunnel test 4/25 80 800 °C 2/50 60 4/50 40 600 panel #/ depth 400 1/25 20 °C 470 1/50 200 gas 0 0 0 30 60 time (min) 90 0 600 after fire (Vasym = 3780 m/s) 5 nm 400 before fire (V20= 4530 m/s) 200 depth (mm) travel timeT·Vasym (mm) Fig.

A volume in honour of Prof. In: Pijaudier-Cabot G. Cabrini (concrete colorimetry). Bergmeister (BOKU University. delaminations and presence of distinct layers could markedly affect the results and a careful check on both their repeatability and consistency is recommended. The in situ application to the real fire cases confirmed the viability of this method. The continuous monitoring of the energy expended by a common hammer drill was confirmed to be a reliable method for assessing the severe damage gradients occurring in concrete structures during a fire. The viability of these methods in case of real fires and actual in situ operational conditions has then been checked with reference to a precast RC structure and a motorway tunnel. the condition of the drill bit. The proposed simplified approach to colorimetry proved to be a powerful tool for evaluating the well-known colour changes of heated concrete without the need for an expert’s judgement. Gambarova PG. following the promising results of some preliminary laboratory tests. Conclusions In this paper. G. A grateful acknowledgement goes to all the students who lively cooperated to the development of the NDT techniques in partial fulfillment of their MS degree requirements: M. Hermes Science Publications. [3] Felicetti R. Drilling resistance profile within the mini-tunnel panel #1 and histograms of the damage depth and maximum damage at the surface for the samples at issue. However. Moreover. the possible influence of cracks. 6. with no interference from cracking. the considerable amount of data available in a single digital image (many thousands of pixels) allows to separately analyse the cement mortar and the aggregate and to outline some statistical trends ascribable to the inherent heterogeneity of the material. Marzorati (indirect UPV interpretation). Pizzigoni (drilling tests).ARTICLE IN PRESS M. this technique proved to be very fast and easily implemented. p. Vienna. Bondesan and G. Austria) for his factual support to the experimental activities in the Virgolo tunnel. In the case of in situ applications. editor. Colombo. 1999. Gerard B. Fire Safety J 1990). regardless of the interpretation procedure.2:429–47. References [1] Schneider U. surface roughness or spalling. Basilico and D. The evaluation of the material response relative to the inner undamaged layer means that the results do not have to be compared with specific calibration curves and that the repeatability of the testing conditions (e. editors.A. Progress in Structural Engineering Materials 2000. A particular acknowledgement goes to Prof. three innovative NDT methods for the assessment of fire damaged concrete structures have been presented. Acknowledgements The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support of CTG—Italcementi Group. On the residual properties of high performance siliceous concrete exposed to high-temperature. Compared to a common colorimeter. 167–86. R. 16: 251–336. The indirect UPV method proved to be quite sensitive. thanks to the prompt effect of heating on both the dynamic Young’s modulus and the moisture content of concrete. and the average thrust) is not an issue. Bittnar Z. with the only limitation of the permanent damage produced by cutting the concrete cores to be analysed. repairability of fire damaged structures. which makes it generally not appropriate for shotcrete or if there has been spalling.P. and A. Bazant’s 60th birthday. The proposed procedure allows rapid interpretation of the results with no need for a preliminary calibration for the specific material properties. a scalar measure of the colour variation has been expressly defined in to order to simplify the assessment of the material. .g. 13. Faccoli and L. allowing the following set of conclusions to be formulated. stiffness and mass of the tested member. in the framework of the European Communities Project UPTUN on the upgrading of existing tunnels. Z. Effect of fire on concrete and concrete structures. CIB W14 Report. [2] Khoury GA. K. The application of this technique is rather time consuming (ffi15 min/test) and requires an almost flat surface. Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 50 panel #1 15 reference (before fire) 10 5 top base panel 30 drilling resistance (J/mm) mini tunnel panels (middle height) mini tunnel damage depth (mm) drilling resistance (J/mm) 20 DR ref DR at the surface 20 damage depth 10 middle 20 30 reference (before fire) 30 20 at the surface (after fire) 31 % 10 43 % 0 10 mini tunnel panels (middle height) 40 bottom 0 0 471 40 50 0 1 depth (mm) 2 3 panel# 4 1 2 51% 53% 3 4 panel # Fig. The immediate availability of the results has been shown to be of value in the assessment of concrete structures surviving complicated fire scenarios.

On the ultrasonic pulse propagation into fire damaged concrete.R. Proceedings of international workshop on ‘‘Fire Design of Concrete Structures: what Now? What Next?’’—fib Task group 4. Short NR. p. 2001. Bungey JH. Purkiss.ARTICLE IN PRESS 472 M. Construct. October 2005. Felicetti / Fire Safety Journal 42 (2007) 461–472 [4] Tay DCK.32:1009–18. R. [10] Abraham O. Assessing fire damage to R/C elements. (Austria): BOKU University. Felicetti R. Milan. A non-destructive technique for the determination of mortar load capacity in situ. Croce P. Guise SE.3. test report no. Felicetti R. Riva P. Materials and Structures 1989.36:411–8. 1996. 2005.28:276–83. Cement and Concrete Research 2002. Report ME 62. Fire Safety J. Mater. Technical report.96(3):257–71. Italy. Build. The drilling resistance test for the assessment of fire damaged concrete. J Cement Concrete Composites 2006. In situ investigation of strength of deteriorated concrete. [8] Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chausse´es. Bergmeister. Guise SE. Purkiss JA. 291p. 2005. In: Gambarova PG. [7] Short NR. Agarwal SK. Assessment of fire-damaged concrete using colour image analysis. 2001. Gucci N. 114p [in French]. (DIS): Politecnico di Milano. ACI Structural J 1998. Real scale fire tests—virgolo tunnel. Glasgow: Blackey Academic and Professional. Construction and Building Materials 1996. Felicetti R. Barsotti R. Short. Assessment of fire-damaged concrete. Colombo. Department of Structural Engineering and Natural Hazards. Materials and Structures 1995. The testing of concrete in structures. Physicochemical.3. Guise. Pre´sentation des techniques de diagnostic de l’etat d’un be´ton soumis a` un incendie. 26pp. Purkiss JA. Rev.15:9–15.22:231–6 [in French]. mineralogical and morphological characteristics of concrete exposed [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] to elevated temperatures. De´robert X. Vienna. in: Proceedings of the Concrete Communication Conference. Agarwal S.A. Department of Structural Engrg. New NDT techniques for the assessment of fire damaged RC structures. pp. Structural Concrete 2000. J.36:181–99. Assessment of fire-damaged concrete using crack density measurements.28:321–9. [12] Handoo SK. Levasseur M. 1. . 2000. Tam CT. 245–254. [11] Felicetti R. [9] Benedetti A. editors. [6] N. Meda A. K. 2005. Controˆle des mate´riaux de construction par dynamostratigraphie. 211–220. S E. Salvatore W.3:137–43. [5] Cioni P. Non-destructive testing of fired tunnel walls: the Mont-Blanc Tunnel case study. British Cement Association. NDT&E International 2003. Digital-camera colorimetry for the assessment of firedamaged concrete. Chagneau F.10: 17–26. 180p. 875-05-004.